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January 18, 2009

Life Lessons and Middle School Basketball

Marsha As the mother of boys, I have served penance as a “professional” spectator at many school sponsored sporting events. My oldest played basketball in middle school, but other than warming the bench, he didn’t see much of the court nor find playing on the team an edifying experience. My youngest, on the other hand, is the starting center and plays most of the game. He lives for the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. After one of the many games I attend each week, I thought about the life lesson revealed at a middle school basketball game. I learned that…

    •    You won’t always be first string, sometimes your job will be to come in after the all-stars are tired and take the game from there. There is no glory in this except the self-satisfaction of knowing that without you the game wouldn’t be possible.

    •    If you have nurtured your “team”, you will always have folks to cheer you on, even if you totally mess things up.

    •    You may have killjoys in your life who are pessimistic about pretty much everything—stay away from them—they affect your positive mojo.

    •    Sometimes you have a good game where everything goes perfectly—you are in a zone; then there are other times when you couldn’t make a basket if your life depended on it.

    •    Most of the rather big mistakes you make are soon forgotten by others, but remain in your memory forever--what good does that do?

    •    Sometimes you get a “bad call”, but there is always an opportunity to blame someone else for it (referees).

    •    Guarding yourself from injury is the first line in self-preservation.

    •    You can’t make it to the end of the game without your teammates. It takes five to play basketball. It takes more to play in real life.

    •    No one else will remember the score in a week, so perhaps you shouldn’t keep it. Sometimes we require more from others than we do ourselves. We remember the hurts and the offenses against us far more than they merit our time or energy.

    •    Sometimes the game isn’t about the game. My son played a rather seasoned team tonight. Anyway, after a crushing defeat he went to the concession stand and began to make friends with the other team—it’s his nature. For him, it is more about the relationships than the game.

    •    It is essential to have a strong coach (or coaching staff), one who has played the game before you; one who owns the playbook; who encourages you; who calls you to discipline and finds value in who you are.

Often we dismiss the ordinary in life as mundane when, in fact, the extraordinary is right in front of us—even at a middle school basketball game.

This is an original post to 50-Something Moms Blog.

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